Recent Studies Point To Concerns
With Genetically Engineered Foods

Two recent studies point to new concerns about genetically
engineered foods and crops. In the December 2 issue of the
journal Nature, New York University researchers found that
roots from common genetically engineered Bt corn exude the
pesticide into the soil, bind with soil particles, and
remain active (ie toxic) in the soil for 243 days.

Dr. Charles Benbrook, former member of the National Academy
of Sciences and head of Benbrook Consulting Services,
believes that the NYU study is as important as an earlier
study by Cornell researchers which found that pollen from
genetically engineered Bt corn was toxic to the Monarch
butterfly study. "What goes on underground in a field
planted with today's Bt-corn varieties is largely a
mystery.  Enhance the toxin levels 100- to 1,000-fold and it
becomes a mystery of some consequence and immediacy,"
Benbrook says.

The registrations for the current wave of engineered Bt
crops expire in 2001. The biotech industry will be looking
for EPA approval for a new wave of Bt crops designed to
address the corn rootworm complex, a particularly stubborn
pest which has developed a resistance to every single pest
tool including crop rotation, according to Benbrook. "It's
going to take a pretty high level of Bt to control them."

Another study published in December issue of the
international scientific journal Microbial
Ecology in Health and Disease (no 4, 1999) found that the
use of the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral promoter (CaMV) in the
process of genetically engineering food has the potential to
reactivate dormant viruses or create new viruses in all
species to which it is transferred.

CaMV is found in practically all current genetically
engineered crops released commercially or undergoing field
trials. Its instability increases the possibility of
promotion of an inappropriate over-expression of genes to
the transferred species. The development of cancer may be
one consequence of such inappropriate over-expression of

The scientists behind the research, Mae-Wan Ho, Angela Ryan,
and Joe Cummins "strongly recommend that all transgenic
crops containing CaMV 35S or similar promoters should be
immediately withdrawn from commercial production or open
field trials. All products derived from such crops
containing transgenic DNA should also be immediately
withdrawn from sale and from use for human consumption or
animal feed".

For pre-publication full text, see:

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